SCBOE discusses construction plans to improve security at county schools

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – Representatives from Lathan Associates Architects revealed plans for safety upgrades for all county schools during the Shelby County Board of Education’s June 6 meeting.

“What we’re trying to do is control access to the building,” owner Rick Lathan said.

The plan has three main components and will be customized for each school:

• Building access – Visitors can only enter through one set of doors at the main entrance of each school. The entrance will have doors with magnetic locks and cameras, and school officials in the main office must identify and approve each visitor.

• Containment – Visitors must sign in at the main office upon entering the school. Doors with magnetic locks will be installed at hallway entrances to ensure visitors check in first.

• Hallway access – School officials must unlock magnetic doors to allow visitors to enter the hallway.

Deputy Superintendent Tom Ferguson said all other points of entrance to the main building or exterior buildings on all campuses will remain locked at all times.

Ferguson also said the school system is still in the “design phase” for the security upgrades. Once the designs are complete, the school system will bid out the projects. The construction will likely take about six months once it begins.